Sari Powazek, owner of The Doll House and Toy Store in Scottsdale, has some tips on how to pick the best toy for the child in your life.
"I believe that a 'hot' toy is something that the child will play with over and over again because it engages the child in developmental, creative, imaginative and social interactive play," Powazek said.
Here are some tips:
- It should be visually interesting, so that it encourages the child to touch it, hold it and use it. The toy should challenge the child to think, but not frustrate the child.
- The child has to use imagination and be involved with the toy. Pushing a button and watching a toy move or dance gets old very quickly.
- The child learns through many senses - touch, feel and sight - but most importantly, use of the brain.
- Choose a toy that you know that your child likes to play with. For example, if she likes to do puzzles, get a more difficult puzzle to challenge her.
When shopping for your child, ask yourself these important questions:
1. Does the toy encourage interaction?
2. Does it meet the developmental age of the child?
3. Does it allow your child to use their imagination while they are playing?
4. Is it something that your child will sustain interest in?
If you say "yes" to more than one of these questions, than you have chosen a winner. If not, keep on looking for that great toy!
One of Powazek's favorite toys on the market today that can literally be played with by a child for many years is called "Smart Max."
At 1 year old, a child is holding bars of different colors and lengths that are magnetic and will attract and repel. The bars in the Smart Max are attracted to metal balls. You can talk about colors and "long" (tall) or "short" with your child.
As the child gets more verbal, he starts telling you the colors and sizes, besides, magnets are FUN, so he is enjoying putting them together in long lines.
Next step is simple shapes, then 3 dimensional shapes, on to structures and more complex building.
"It is also NOT a choking hazard!" she said.
Is the Smart Max expensive? The sets range from $49.99-$79.99. However, if your child has played with it for many hours and over a period of years, then this toy has really cost pennies per hour of play.
If you have any further questions about toys, you can email Powazek at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Doll House and Toy Store is offering a 20% OFF discount to all Sonoran Living Live viewers on 1 regularly priced item if they mention the show.
This special deal will expire on Dec. 16 and may not be combined with any other offers.
The Doll House and Toy Store
16447 N. Scottsdale Road
(SE corner of Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright)